Tipping is always a controversial subject. I certainly had that reinforced in a recent blog on when staff shouldn’t expect gratuity. Whether you’re at a restaurant, fast food joint, ferry terminal, theatre, tourist attraction or any other establishment where service comes in to play, the questions always persist: “Should I tip?” “How much should I tip?” I was contacted by someone at the Hospitality Management School who directed me to their Tipping Guide: How to Respond to Hospitality, in case I’d be interested for this blog. Interesting idea…but is it useful? Maybe. Like with many things, there was a bit of good and a bit of not so good.
The Good – Nice to look at and useful, there’s a lot to like about this product:
- As far as interactive graphics go, it’s easy to use. The graphics are great and the interface is pretty straightforward. I’m not sure if this is mobile friendly but it looks like it wouldn’t be too hard if it isn’t.
- In regards to the percentages (and I’m assuming this is the U.S. as it doesn’t clarify that from anywhere I saw) they were bang on. Whether it was 10-20% for waiters or $2 for a shampoo person, all amounts seemed pretty reasonable.
- History of the Tip: great idea for added value but doesn’t go into the background beyond three brief paragraphs. How about the rest of the world?
The Bad – where I like the guidelines, I’m not a fan of a graphic telling me what I can and can’t do. For example:
- “Don’t tip extra when gratuity is already added on the bill.” I’m sorry, but if you think your server has gone above and beyond, there should be nothing stopping you from tipping whatever you want, even if it’s more than the bill says.
- “Don’t leave a bad tip if you plan on visiting the establishment again.” Screw you. If you have a bad experience, tip appropriately, but if you want to go back and give them a second chance…do so. Who has the power here? The bad server or the disgruntled customer? If you want to go back, go back and maybe the service will be worth a better tip the next go around.
- “No Less than 10% for poor service” You’re not the boss of me. Bad service is bad service. I can tip over 20% if the service warrants it and I can tip nothing if the service warrants it.
- On the front page of this guide, there’s an FYI: “Before using our guide: The Federal Minimum Wage for tipped employees is only $2.13/hr. Barely beating a FoxConn Employee in China who makes $1.78/hour” And I should care, why? If your country can’t figure out how to pay its citizens, should that fall on the consumer? By putting this in this tipping guide, it implies the customer should pay up, regardless of the service they are provided. Or at least guilt them into tipping. Sorry, servers should earn their tips. I believe in tipping for service, not for providing subsidies for a crappy paying job.
The Decision – The guide is a useful too if you just stick with the “how much and should I tip” guidelines. It’s hard to know what to do and what is considered appropriate, changes. I remember when 10% was the standard. Now it seems to be 20%. But what if it’s a part of 6 or more. Eight or more? Times change and an interactive guide like this can be really helpful. On the other hand, it would be better served if it A) made clear that this is for the United States, and B) stopped bossing the user around. Yes, as it says in the “History of Tipping”, I totally understand that servers rely on tips to make a decent living. It’s always been that way. However, that doesn’t mean entitlement should rule the day. And if the tips aren’t that great, I’ve got a couple of “tips” for you:
1) Go serve at a place that serves better food and booze. You know, where people tend to tip more.
2) Save your tips and put your money towards getting a that doesn’t rely on the kindness of strangers.
Check out the Tipping Guide and let me know what you think.